I was honored to lead a visual communication excercise at TEDxTheCollegeOfWooster, as well as to have the opportunity to visually synthesize the ideas swirling around the room during the excellent presentations. Congrats to event producer, College of Wooster student Christina Haupt, and all the other folks who pitched in to create a magical event. The overarching them connecting all the talks was “Integrity.” This event was a powerful example of different kinds of integrity, creating a powerful whole from its various parts.
Wooster, Ohio, is a fascinating town which is producing a crop of social entrepreneurs working locally and internationally. I enjoyed meeting the team behind Reach Trade Co. (Coffee sourced from farmers in Peru, with revenue channeled into improving access to clean water), the !st Amendment (food, drink, and discussion salon), and Local Roots Market & Cafe (connecting local farmers to local consumers).
The College of Wooster is equally intriguing. From Wikipedia:
Wooster is one of forty colleges named in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, in which he called it his “…original best-kept secret in higher education.” It is consistently ranked among the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report. In US News’ “Best Colleges 2011”, Wooster ranked fifth among national liberal arts colleges in the category of “Best Undergraduate Teaching,”
I had a wonderful time being part of this thought provoking and delightful event. Oh, one last thing. I highly recommend the Hotel St. Paul, where I stayed. It’s a boutique hotel with fabulous amenities and a euro design sensibility. Great place!
Eric Singer is an an artist in the oldest and newest mediums you can imagine: fire, music, and robots. I met Eric in 2004 in New York City when he gave me advice as I worked to create a set of electronics embedded coveralls I used as an audio controller for comedy performance. Since then we have both relocated to the Steel City. Eric recently spearheaded the East Coast’s first festival dedicated entirely to fire art, Pyrotopia in Munhall, PA. Prior to that Eric founded LEMUR, the League of Electronic Muscal Urban Robots. “LEMUR creates exotic, sculptural musical instruments which integrate robotic technology. The result is computer-controlled mechanized acoustic musical instruments which can perform music by and with human musicians.” Eric’s creative resume is too long to enumerate here, just know that he is a creative rockstar (literally—he used to play sax in the celebrated ska band the Allstonians).
Rebecca Harris is the director of the Chatham Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship. Harris is “…passionate about helping women start and grow successful businesses, Ms. Harris has expertise in developing strategic alliances and mentoring opportunities which will benefit women working in local and regional businesses.” She has had a long and varied career starting and running numerous businesses. I heard her giving a shout out to CatapultPGH on the WESA talkshow Essential Pittsburgh, and I figured if she is tuned in enough to know about us, she must be good people. And since we are comprised of a variety of entrepreneurial individuals and companies, we would love to hear about resources for Pittsburgh based entrepreneurs.
Anne Marie Toccket and Nick Fedorek are part of the team behind the Pittsburgh Hostel Project. “The Pittsburgh Hostel Project is a group of people who believe Pittsburgh can and should sustain a hostel and are dedicated to making this happen.”
Anne Marie is the project Director and a Jane of all trades. She holds three bachelor’s degrees from Penn State University and a master’s degree in international development and nonprofit management from the University of Pittsburgh. Anne Marie works remotely for Awamaki, a nonprofit that she cofounded in Peru dedicated to sustainable development. She is co-owner of a cooperative bookstore/cafe in Pittsburgh, and chair of the board of Building New Hope, an international nonprofit based in Pittsburgh that imports fair-trade coffee. She was chosen as a delegate to the 2012 One Young World summit held in Pittsburgh. She has extensive experience in nonprofit fundraising and program development, and loves international travel–she has been to 40 countries and counting.
Nick Gunther Fedorek has been part of the Pittsburgh Hostel Project for about 4 months. He has stayed at many, many hostels on backpacking trips throughout Europe, and thinks it’s about time Pittsburgh had a hostel of its own. He recently finished his master’s degree in Community Development and Planning and is involved with the planning, development, and community process components of the project. He is currently a freelancer specializing in qualitative research, market analysis, and business development.
Derek Minto is a Pittsburgh based comedian, storyteller, and the host of the Haters for Hire comedy podcast. “Haters for Hire is a weekly audio podcast chock full of swearing, stand up comics, and game show style violence all hosted by Derek Minto. Each week features new guests, stories and discussions. A majority of the time the guests are comics from the city of Pittsburgh though many hail from all over country.” A recent tweet of Derek’s “If only there was Taco flavored vodka…oh wait that’s tequila.”
Besides our lineup of fabulous guests, we are mixing up some of the other roles. Lara Schenck will emcee, Elliot Williams will be capturing the conversations with large scale visual notes, and I (Jonny Goldstein) will open and close the event and be the official photographer.
When: Friday, December 7, 5PM-6:15PM
Where: CatapultPGH, 5139 Penn Ave 15224
Thanks to all our fabulous Show-n-Tell presenters and audience at last months event at CatapultPGH.
We featured Olympic diver Cassidy Krug who recounted her London 2012 experience, British Designer (now in Pittsburgh) Alex Leeson-Brown about how he ended up in the ‘Burgh, experience designer Minette Vacccariello on the street art and design projects she has helped create on Penn Ave, and social media consultant Brian Shope on the way social media blurs power and communication relationships.
“Helped me to “feel” how different it is–more collaborative, more fluid, more generative, less argumentative–to draw as you’re working together to plan or conceptualize a project as opposed to just using words.”
“Having your coworker draw out the situation will allow you to reflect upon it in a new and more objective way. Take turns and see what you come up with. The reason why this technique works is because it boils down issues to their core parts, forcing you to stay focused. ”
Chances are, you are surrounded by whiteboards wherever you work, but do you use them to their fullest potential? Do you ROCK the whiteboard? I can get you rocking with my 1-day workshop.
Who this is for:
This is for anyone who wants to use the power of visualization to:
…And think better, using that simple yet powerful tool, the whiteboard.
Why is a whiteboard such a powerful tool?
The humble whiteboard is amazing thing. Using a whiteboard helps you and your team harness power of images to solve problems and communicate ideas. A couple of things make a whiteboard a particularly fearsome tool for collaboration:
1. It is a shared display. That means a group can look at it at the same time and build a shared understanding.
2. It is as easy to edit, erase, add marks, highlight. That ability to easily modify the contents of the whiteboard invites participation. Your visuals can evolve as your group’s understanding evolves.
3. To quote brain scientist John Medina “You get 3x better recall for visual information than for oral. And you’ll get 6x better recall for information that is simultaneously oral and visual.” A whiteboard lets you present your visual information while you talk, giving whoever you are presenting to that 6x advantage in remembering what you said. But, but, but…I can’t draw!
I hear this a lot. And the truth is, our culture and educational system does a lousy job building peoples’ drawing skills, and maybe you did not get the coaching you needed to become confident at drawing. Just answer two questions for me: Do you have a hand that is capable of holding a marker? Can you look both ways before crossing the street and then walk across it without getting run over? If you answered yes to these two questions, I can get you over the drawing hump no problem. Using simple shapes and marks, we will be able to whiteboard just about anything by the end of the workshop. This is not about “art.” This is about thinking and communicating.
How is this going to work
1. This is project based. Bring a project you are passionate about and we will apply the power of the whiteboard to help you work on your project.
2. This is social. The real power of the whiteboard is its usefulness as a collaborative tool. You will help other participants visualize their projects and they will help you by visualizing your projects. People working with people=social and social learning=fun + effective.
3. This is hands-on visual listening. The visual part of whiteboarding is one part of the equation, listening is the other part, the hands on creating is another part. When you visually reflect someone’s ideas for them by really listening and then turning that into something on visual the whiteboard, they will love it, and vice versa when they return the favor.
4. We will do a lot of listening, drawing, and presenting
After the workshop:
You will take home my booklet covering the techniques and approaches that we use during the workshop
It takes repetition to really learn something. I am giving you the opportunity (should you choose to take it) to lock in your learning by giving you seven days of homework which I will give you feedback on. Simple 15 minute assignments that you will draw and then post to our…
Enroll in the post-workshop online discussion group where you can post your homework, ask questions, give and get feedback. I will be there chiming in. The group will be active for two weeks after the workshop, just to lock in the learning.
Class size limit: 12 people, max. I want to give you individualized feedback, so I’m keeping the workshop small.
(That’s me in the yellow shirt.) And Who the Heck Is Jonny and What Qualifies Him to Teach This?
I am what is called a “Visual Practitioner,” someone who works with people and companies to do things better through harnessing the power of visual thinking. I love what I do so much that I am an incoming board member of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners. I wear a few hats. For one of my hats, I help turn conferences into powerful learning experiences by drawing huge illustrated notes in real time of the ideas bouncing around the room. Clients from Stockholm to Vegas engage me to help their conference participants have powerful learning experiences.
Another hat I wear is my teacher hat. For the last two years I have been teaching workshops in the Masters of Design (MID) program at University of the Arts called “Hands on Visual Listening” that helps those students use collaborative visualizing to work better with their clients and each other.
One last hat: pitch visualizer for startups. That means I help startups visualize their pitches to funders by interviewing them and whiteboarding our conversation as we talk. That helps them “see” their value proposition and visualize how to communicate that value to potential funders. Clients include InsuranceZebra (which just got $1.5 in funding. High five!) and Alphalab, Pittsburgh’s premiere tech company incubator.
OK, I lied, one more thing: I love fostering learning communities! And I love Co-working! And I love Indy Hall. I was proud to be part of the Indy Hall community before I moved to Pittsburgh, and still make it a point to stop by when I am in town. That’s why I am so excited about doing this workshop at Indy Hall on Nov. 19.
So what’s the catch? I want to use this workshop to help me promote future workshops. That means I (or someone I contract with) may be taking photos and possibly video during the workshop with an eye toward using said photos and video to promote future workshops. That means that media of you and your whiteboard work may be shared online, in print, and in other media. Of course some people are happy to get exposure and share this way, so this may be a bonus! So if you are OK with people possibly seeing you and your whiteboard work, and want to take advantage of the learning, then jump on in! And if not, I look forward to catching you at a future event.
Once you have signed up, I will send you a quick questionnaire so I can learn more about you (and your lunchtime dietary preferences) and I’ll see you at 9:30, Monday, November 19 in the workshop room at Indy Hall. Supplies will be provided. Bring a camera (or camera phone) so you can document your work!
The United States Federal Government is without a doubt the most powerful organization on the planet. Between the Department of Defense, the Social Security Administration, the Medicare System, and the other myriad departments that comprise the U.S. Government, US taxpayers spent 3.630 trillion (That’s $3,630,000,000,000,000) for fiscal year 2011 to provide a myriad of services.The reach of the Federal Government is deep and wide, stretching from your mailbox to beyond the Solar System.
Back on earth, over 55 million people received social security payments in 2009. The rivers we get our drinking water is clean thanks to the Clean Air Act of 1972, and our interstates are paved thanks to our Federal Government.
But the government faces a big challenge in the 21st century. How can such a massive organization communicate effectively with each of us citizens, given our ever rising expectations and budget belt tightening?
I was fascinated and honored to help visualize the future of Federal Government communications at the “Digital Government: The Transformative Power of Communications” event in Washington DC on October 16, sponsored by GovDelivery.com, a company devoted to helping Government take advantage of emerging technologies to improve communications.
One of the big ideas at the conference came from Peter Sims. He advocates a “Little Bets” approach to get big improvements, inspired by such disparate players as standup comics, Beethoven, and technology startup founders.
The approach involves taking small risks, learning from them, and then when a successful approach coalesces, going big with that validated idea.
He used Steve Jobs’ experience at Pixar as one of his examples. Jobs kept green lighting ultra low budget animated short movies to sell Pixar hardware, until he realized that animated movies had better market potential than the hardware sales business Pixar originally tried to develop. Sims emphasized that the same “Little Bets” approach worked for government communications efforts as well.
GovDelivery CEO Scott Burns talked about the availability of new tools government can use to leverage big data to create customized, personalized, communication with citizens.
It is a challenge to get across everything we covered at this event, so check out the full set of visuals here, and over at GovDelivery.com in this blog post by Mike Bernard.